Small Surprises: A Caterpillar Underfoot

The tourism office was not kidding when they said the Salkantay Trek is long and difficult. Battling altitude, gaining great elevation, and riding horses are three things I don’t do very often, and I have to admit I did struggle. There were so many moments when I wanted to slow down, sit, maybe sleep a while, and yet this trek was one of the most rewarding I have undertaken.

One afternoon, I was falling behind the group, hot under full sun with little shade, hiking down a long mountain. I stopped under the shade of a tree and took in my surroundings, hoping for a little boost from something beautiful or somehow inspiring. Not much to see, I looked down at my feet, a little disappointed, and tired. There I spotted this tiny and very hairy little caterpillar, in stunning white against the brown leaf litter. I was surprised by it, and was glad that I hadn’t stepped on it. The unusual appearance of this caterpillar made me smile, and I laughed quietly to myself while I watched it go about its usual business for a minute or two, until I felt spirited enough to continue hiking. I know the end goal of the trek was the sweeping views of Machu Picchu, but I would never have made it there without taking those brief moments to re-energize by appreciating the smaller (even tiny) beauties around me.

machupicchu6_2

Read a little more about the Salkantay Trek by following this link!

Or read a past blog about hiking slowly by following this link!

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